Meghalaya, the beautiful hilly northeastern state is home to some of the natural wonders that leave everyone dazzled. Apart from its picturesque lakes, mountain ranges, wildlife, natural attractions of Meghalaya include some of the amazing and complex cave systems. While its long limestone caves have attracted thousands of tourists for years, the latest addition to the list is the Krem Puri caves. With a length of 24,583-meter, it has become the longest sandstone cave of the world. It is such a complex maze that careless visitors face the risk of losing ways inside it.
The discovery of Krem Puri
In local dialect, Krem Puri denotes the cave fairy. The cave was discovered in 2016. However, this year the Meghalaya Adventurers’ Association, under the leadership of Brian Daly Kharpran explored the cave properly. Mr Kharpran, is the incidentally recipient of the coveted Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award. The team explored the complex maze of sandstone corridors and passages inside. The cave is located 1227m above the sea level and the base of one steep cliff is the opening. It covers a total area of 13 sq km, near Mawsynram.
The wonder inside the cave
From what has been seen by the discovery team, Krem Puri is a treasure house of flora and fauna. You can find various species of bats, spiders, frogs and fish species in the caves. However, the more stunning discovery is the fossil of Mosasaurus- which is a huge aquatic carnivorous reptile. It used to inhabit the earth roughly 66-76 million years back. The cave explorers have also come across shark teeth and bones that could be of some extinct marine dinosaurs. Apart from the sandstone shapes, the cave corridors also have some amount of stalactites and stalagmites.
It is not likely for the cave to be inhabited by humans, think the scientists. This is because these caves get flooded during monsoon, which makes them unsuitable for human habitation. Not many caves in the hilly state are made of Sandstone- most are formed of limestone. This is uncommon because sandstone is known for low solubility.
Inside Krem Puri, the average temperature is usually around 16-17C, regardless of the temperature outside. The small crevices and cracks ensure there is no dearth of air inside the cave, so visitor have no problem in breathing.
The location- how to reach
The caves are situated in the East Khasi Hills district. You have to reach the Laitsohum village. You need to reach Shillong first and the capital city is connected with Delhi through flights. No direct flight is available as of now though. From the city’s Umroi Airport, you may hire a cab to reach the caves. The journey should take about 3 hours. As an alternative, you can reach Guwahati by train and take a cab from there. It will take about 5 hours.
Where to stay
Unlike other popular caves in Meghalaya, Krem Puri is yet to become a tourist hotspot as the discovery is recent. Laitsohum is a remote village and so you cannot expect to find any seatbelt accommodation there. The best idea then is to stay in Shillong as the city has several decent hotels. You may stay in Shillong and cover the caves on a day trip by cab.
When to visit
To visit the Krem Puri caves, the months from September to May are ideal. This will ensure you can evade the hassles caused by torrential rains. Given the fact the place is close to Mawsinram- it gets heavy rainfall in the monsoon months. These also lead to landslides sometimes. The temperature in summer months remains within 15-25 degree Celsius, on an average.